THE McFALL YEARS: Cowan added finishing touch to Ports machine

The name of Stevie Cowan appeared on scoresheets in Scotland and Northern Ireland that secured league titles for two of the British game's longest-serving managers.

Stevie Cowan

Cowan won the title with Aberdeen under Alex Ferguson during the mid-1980s before the latter’s departure to Manchester United. The striker made his exit out of home nation Scotland towards the end of the decade to join Ronnie McFall’s revolution.

That ability to find the net in Portadown red led to Cowan writing his name in Shamrock Park history books across three magical seasons.

And Cowan clicked with McFall from day one.

“Ronnie kept it simple and worked on full trust,” said Cowan. “I came over maybe with a certain level of expectation from people after my career in Scotland.

“I had a winning mentality but it was the same with the rest of the squad and Ronnie was great at putting together the right people.

“That was true not just for the players but the backroom team like assistant manager Bob Nesbitt, physio Derek McKinley and Geordie Richardson as kit man.

“I spent the majority of my time training back home in Scotland but would come over for games.

“Bob was great at just dropping in the right word here or there, Geordie had everything set up perfectly and Derek was excellent as physio.

“We were all driven by that desire for points from every game or to get into the next round of a cup.

“There was no room for egos in the dressing room and we managed to gel quickly, with everyone desperate to win trophies.

“It was no different that second title season when we also went on to win the Irish Cup for the first time.

“Ronnie made sure we never felt under any pressure as defending champions and just trusted us to go out and play.

“We worked on set-pieces and which players to pick up but basically it was about going out to dominate those first 20 minutes.

“We could play football or mix it, depending on the occasion.

“Really Ronnie just backed the players he signed to go out and produce on the pitch.”